Why do I want to be a Pharma sales representative?
The pharmaceutical sales field is often described as “recession-proof” as it has first-rate salary potential and offers flexibility, growth opportunities, and excellent benefits. Increasing life expectancies and improved quality of life count among the factors driving the expansion of the pharmaceutical sector. Although getting yourself into the sector as a graduate shouldn’t be too difficult; climbing the ladder of Pharma sales success is a very tricky challenge.
Here at Congrego we work with pharmaceutical companies and their reps across the world implementing our product to revolutionise their sales forces from improved mobile training to the creation of modern interactive sales details. Over the last five years we’ve developed a strong understanding of what pharmaceutical companies look for in their reps and what the reps need in order to do their job better. We have also learnt what customers want when they are approached by a sales representative.
Pharma sales is definitely not easy!
The qualities pharmaceutical companies tend to look for in a sales rep candidate are sometimes obvious but should never be forgotten, a successful candidate can sometimes let the success of their four year university degree and consequent job offer blind them causing them to forget how competitive Pharma sales really is. As much as there are great benefits to being a pharmaceutical sales rep, you really to have to continuously evaluate whether or not you are continuing to demonstrate the key factors that make a great sales rep throughout your career.
THE BIG SIX
I have decided to condense my thoughts on what makes the perfect sales rep into six very simple, key characteristics that I think every rep should follow as their ‘daily check list’.
- BE POSITIVE AND SELF MOTIVATED
Pharmaceutical companies favour people who are very positive. The job isn’t for those who are ‘weak and fragile’’. The sales rep hiring process can be grueling with multiple interviews and many rejections. In a way, it gives aspiring pharmaceutical sales personnel a taste of what the actual sales representative job would be like. For experienced sales reps maintaining the same level of positivity that you started your career with can sometimes be a challenge because there will be some really shoddy periods but it’s important to wake up each day with a smile on your face and an attitude that says ‘I am good, i can keep getting better’. No sales representative should ever settle for their current figures no matter how good they are. Keep getting up every day and believing in your ability to stand out from the crowd.
- IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
The world has gone digital, and while in some respects pharmaceutical companies haven’t all been as agile as the tech startup community, the more you are able to immerse yourself in what technology makes possible, the more of an edge you’ll have.
A lot of the time sales reps aren’t given the time of day so don’t waste your precious time with paper brochures and documents on your laptops – or you’ll spend more time sorting through your information than engaging with the person stood right in front of you.
- KNOW YOUR STUFF
Not only do you need to be prepared to ask and answer questions regarding the firm’s products when you first get an interview, but you’ll really need to know your products when you’re out in the field. With training days coming far and few you need to make sure you’re spending your downtime between meetings brushing up on your stuff. You’re most likely using modern sales aids and videos in your pitches that can sometimes make a sale for you but i’d like to remind you ‘people buy from people’. It’s all well and good having all the information on your tablet to wave at someone but if you have to stare and read directly from an iPad you’re really going to struggle to get a sale.
- HAVE A PROFESSIONAL ATTITUDE
While professionalism is integral in many sales fields and speaks for itself in many ways, pharma reps need an especially strong professional attitude. Pharmaceuticals is a huge industry with many billion-dollar companies making a huge impact on the medical profession and consumer health decisions all over the world. Projecting a professional image is important to maintain and build a good reputation. Additionally, pharmaceutical sales reps spend significant time meeting with doctors and other medical professionals who won’t give a rep the time of day if he/she doesn’t present themselves professionally through the way they dress to acting with proper business etiquette.
- BE GOAL ORIENTATED
Pharma sales is a highly competitive, cutthroat environment. Companies can’t afford reps who don’t meet targets or keep up with reps from competing companies. Being goal oriented and ambitious drives reps toward success and helps you overcome obstacles.
A goal-oriented sales representative will operate efficiently, manage their time and assert themselves across the board. Additionally, competitive reps don’t stop at the first “no.” They continue to overcome objections and think of creative ways to achieve their goals without gaining a reputation for being ‘annoying’ within the industry.
- HAVE PATIENCE
The final ingredient. Have patience; don’t let challenges hold you back, keep trying, push through the tough times and you’ll see how rewarding it can be to work as a pharmaceutical sales rep.
Make sure you have all the ingredients!
Although we can’t tell you how to be the perfect sales rep; If you can develop all the ingredients that i’ve touched on then i’m sure you’ll see success but it’s down to you. Just be careful of the domino effect… If one of these is missing, the rest could fall.